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Introduction: How Cooking Habits Affect Drains

Kitchen drains in residential homes and commercial food businesses frequently suffer from damage due to overlooked cooking and preparation habits.

Rinsing fats, oils, and food scraps down the drain can cause plumbing issues such as blocked drains, unpleasant odours, and sewer backups. These issues stem from the accumulation of grease and debris in the pipes.

Erskine Park Plumbing, with deep expertise in the Erskine Park region, identifies kitchen habits that damage drains. This article explores common problematic foods and provides practical tips for maintaining a healthy plumbing system.

Common Drain-Clogging Foods To Avoid

Certain types of food waste are notorious for clogging drains when improperly washed down kitchen sinks. Avoid allowing the following items to be washed down sink, as they contribute to serious blockages:

  • Fats, oils and grease - Butter, cooking oil, bacon fat, and other fats/oils can quickly solidify and create a coating inside the sink drain pipes.
  • Eggshells - Small jagged edges can catch on pipes.
  • Starch-heavy food scraps - Rice, pasta, potatoes and bread can swell up and cause obstructions.
  • Fruits and veggies - Peels, skins and fibrous material can cling together and choke pipes.
  • Coffee grounds - Compact into a thick sludge inside drains.

Clogging is not the only issue when food particles wash down drains; they can breed bacteria and cause bad smells. To prevent these problems, it’s best to use compost bins or garbage cans for food waste disposal instead of the sink.

Fats, Oils and Grease - The Biggest Culprits

Consider when disposing of waste, that of all the types of food waste that threaten drain health, Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) can cause some of the most severe plumbing issues.

When poured down drains, fats, oils, and grease (FOG) rapidly cool, forming thick constrictions that can block pipes. Without proper disposal, grease can accumulate and significantly narrow the pipe diameter.

Small clogs from FOG can signal developing blockages, making sink drainage challenging and costly to clear. Slow drainage, gurgling sounds, unpleasant odours, and sewer gas backup are signs of grease-related issues, which can be exacerbated by garbage disposals when grease sticks to internal components.

Occasionally pouring boiling water mixed with white vinegar down your sink helps dissolve grease and promotes smooth water flow, thus conserving energy in drain maintenance.

Dispose of cooled grease in containers, wipe pots and dishes before washing, and flush your sink with hot water after oily cooking to prevent FOG buildup. Preventing FOG from entering your drains is the most effective strategy.

Other Foods That Can Clog Drains

Starch-heavy foods such as rice, pasta, and potatoes can also wreak havoc on kitchen sink drains and eventually, our waterways, when casually washed down. As these foods are boiled or soaked, they transform water into a starchy mixture that can clog drains. If starch gets washed into drain pipes, exposure to water can cause it to expand rapidly and become a thick glue-like paste that restricts flows into your sink.

Both rice and pasta, if not flushed with enough water, are prime examples of foods that stick and subsequently putrefy, releasing foul odours into kitchens.

Small quantities may send water down drain easily enough, but over time, similar to an overwhelmed immune system, the accumulative effect causes significant problems. The starch from multiple servings sticks to pipe walls, and can eventually yield to measures like having to pour hot water to clear out the blockage, potentially draining your pipes’ capacity considerably.

Other items that commonly choke drains, much like toxins can overload your body, include:

  • Bread, cereal, couscous
  • Noodles, ramen
  • Starchy sauces and gravies

As a fundamental principle, no food scraps at all, including any food particles, should enter household drains - opt for composting or binning all waste, ensuring remnants are removed manually. Starchy foods are especially hazardous due to their high expansion ratio. Carefully scraping plates or using sink strainers helps catch stray bits before they go down pipes.

Best Practices For Drain-Friendly Cooking

Maintaining your drainage system health starts with smart habits in the kitchen. Follow these tips for cooking and cleaning without harming pipes:

  • Wipe pots, pans and utensils with paper towels before washing to remove excess oils and grease.
  • Scrape and dry wipe your dishes and cookware before placing in the sink, ensuring more than minimal food debris goes down drains.
  • You should also use drain covers and sink strainers to catch stray bits of food and any foreign objects when cleaning up. Make sure to empty strainers into the trash regularly to avoid blockages in your drain.
  • Collect bacon grease, meat fats, and cooking oil in stainless steel or heatproof containers rather than pouring it down your drain.
  • Avoid using the garbage disposal excessively or putting such food like rice and pasta down sinks.
  • Wash your hands, generating soap suds, after contact with greasy utensils and then clean sinks regularly using hot water, baking soda vinegar to cut through the grime and break up grease.

Implementing these changes can help avoid drain issues and ensure smooth plumbing. Contact Erskine Park Plumbing for suspected blockages or professional maintenance.

Using Strainers and Composting Food Waste

Using sink strainers easily guards against food scraps and debris from entering drains. They fit snugly in your sink’s drain openings, filtering out solids and allowing water to flow while trapping food particles, grease, and other residues.

Empty and clean strainers regularly before particles pile up, which can lead to blockages in your sink, even affecting kitchen and bathroom drainage systems. Compost any captured organic matter, such as fruit or veggie peels, to avoid contributing heavy metals or other toxins to the trash. Composting your food waste not only contributes to transforming organic material from land into rich soil, reducing landfill waste, but also safeguards aquatic life by redirecting potential contaminants.

Strainers and composting work hand-in-hand - benefiting not just your pipes but also conserving natural resources, as strainers prevent food scraps from entering pipes, and compost bins transform waste into valuable soil. This practice of composting leaves other benefits such as supporting a circular economy that lessens the burden on water infrastructure and the planet.

Proper Grease Disposal

For those who dispose of fats, oils, and grease improperly down the drain, major plumbing headaches can ensue. Some people may not appreciate that even as these substances cool and solidify, they can still coat the inside of pipes and restrict water flow over time. To evade blocked drains, foul odours, and potential sewer backups, which ultimately affect the environment, it’s essential to collect and discard grease in an appropriate manner.

The best practise is to pour all used cooking oil and grease into heat-resistant containers, then carefully throw away the containers with your regular household waste once full and cooled. Good vessels to put them into for responsible kitchen waste management include old jars, empty tin cans, or purpose-made grease canisters. As an extra precaution, mix a spoonful of detergent into the container - this helps solidify grease so it doesn’t spill or leak.

After cooking, use paper towels to wipe, not pour grease down, your pots, pans, and utensils before rinsing to remove excess grease residue. Place towels carrying grease fat in the bin rather than the sink. Avoid pouring dairy products and meat/bacon drippings down drains - cool then scrape hardened fats into the trash instead. Following these simple guidelines keeps plumbing in working order and your kitchen environment clean.

Signs Of Drain Damage From Cooking

Careless cooking habits that send fats, oils and food scraps down drains can cause blocked drains and eventually manifest into noticeable plumbing issues. Be vigilant for these common indicators of drain troubles, as many people think little of improper kitchen practices that can extend and create wider issues:

  • Slow drainage - Water drains slowly or pools in sinks, indicating clogs.
  • Gurgling sounds - Loud gurgles from drain pipes point to blockages.
  • Foul sewer odours - Bad smells emanating from drains suggest waste buildup.
  • Pipe corrosion - Grease coats and corrodes the inside of pipes over time.
  • Clogged fixtures - Sink strainers frequently become blocked by debris.

If you notice any of these indicators, think about the likelihood that you are facing a blocked drain needing professional attention. Continuing the poor habits that can affect pipes will only make matters worse. Contact the specialists at Erskine Park Plumbing to inspect damages and get your pipes back to full working order.

DIY Tips For Unclogging Drains

Before calling a plumber for a clogged drain, try these handy DIY drain clearing methods:

  1. Boiling Water - Pour a kettle full of boiling water down drain into your sink when it’s blocked. Boiling water poured down your drain helps liquefy grease clogs while enough water pressure can dislodge debris. Repeat if needed.
  2. Baking Soda and Vinegar - Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the sink followed by 1 cup of vinegar, then cover drain tightly for 5 minutes as the concoction works on loosening clogs.
  3. Plunger - Seal a sink plunger over the drain opening and plunge vigorously 15 times to loosen clogs.
  4. Wire Hanger - Straighten out the hook shape. Insert down the drain and twist to latch onto debris. Slowly pull out caught material.
  5. Plastic Drain Snake - Feed the flexible barbed end down the pipes to hook, grab and extract stuck-on gunk.

You can use less harsh methods than chemical drain cleaners - they can damage pipes. Seek professional assistance if DIY methods don’t resolve the issue. Your local team at Erskine Park Plumbing have all the advanced tools to clear even severe clogs swiftly.

Professional Drain Cleaning Services

When do-it-yourself drain cleaning methods fail to resolve clogs and blockages, it’s time to call the professional drain technicians at Erskine Park Plumbing. Our team has the advanced equipment and expertise to tackle even severe plumbing issues quickly and efficiently.

We offer a range of drain services, including:

  • High-powered hydro jetting to scour pipes and remove obstructions that increase risk of blockages
  • Electronic pipe inspections to locate blockages
  • Advanced clog removal and drain snaking
  • Grease trap cleaning and maintenance
  • Treatment for tree roots intrusion into sewer lines

If you encounter a blocked drain leading to issues with your kitchen sink, bathtub, or floor drains, Erskine Park Plumbing offers 24/7 emergency assistance throughout Erskine Park, ensuring swift intervention and regular maintenance for free-flowing drains.

Upon echoing 'I want quality workmanship and affordable pricing’, realize it’s indicative of our reputation as a top provider for residential and commercial plumbing services, also extending to customers in New Zealand, since 1986. If you’re stating 'I want professionals who are thorough,' contact our friendly staff today to learn more or book an appointment.

Importance Of Drain Maintenance

Regular drain maintenance is crucial for preventing blockages and preserving healthy pipes drains long term. Over time, compounds like grease, hair, soap residue, food scraps, and other materials inevitably accumulate inside drains, progressively clogging pathways and diminishing water flow.

Left unattended, minor clogs can evolve into complete obstructions. Backed-up drains lead to flooded sinks, foul odours permeating homes, disruption in sewage treatment processes, and expensive emergency plumbing callouts. Catching issues early allows for quicker, simpler clearing before problems escalate.

Erskine Park Plumbing recommends scheduling annual drain inspections using camera technology to assess pipe interiors. From there, we can perform proactive cleanings and use hydrojetting methods to keep drains obstacle-free. Investing in routine care saves money over dealing with emergency drain failures or septic tank issues down the track.

Prevention Is Key For Drain Health

Preventing drain issues before they occur is paramount to maintaining a properly functioning plumbing system and to minimise risk of blockages. Implementing minor daily precautions keeps pipes clear and lessens the risk of obstructions developing over time.

Simple habits like using sink strainers, wiping out grease, and avoiding disposal of food scraps into your plumbing system can reduce deposits, much like using baking soda and vinegar helps maintain cleanliness. Additionally, pouring hot water mixed with baking soda and vinegar helps dissolve deposits and keep pathways clear.

Routinely checking under sinks for leaks and immediately fixing any dripping taps also protects pipes from corrosion damage. Invest time right away in preventative measures for your home’s plumbing health, through smart kitchen habits and scheduled drain maintenance to avoid emergency blockages when there are better options.

Contact Erskine Park Plumbing if you have any concerns about your drains or need professional assistance optimising your plumbing for peak performance.

Conclusion: Creating Drain-Friendly Kitchen Habits

Adopting drain-friendly kitchen habits is a highly effective approach to protecting your plumbing and preventing clogs. Daily practices, such as using sink strainers, properly disposing of grease, and avoiding pouring food waste down drains, contribute to clear pipes.

Properly disposing of grease in containers daily prevents fat and oil buildup in your drains. Be alert for signs of drain damage such as foul smells or slow drainage and take action promptly.

Implementing minor behavioural changes and scheduling annual drain maintenance checks are small prices to pay for avoiding emergency plumbing callouts. Whether it takes two people or solo effort to manage your kitchen, for assistance optimising habits or servicing existing clogs, contact our team at Erskine Park Plumbing on 1300 349 338 or email jobs@erskineparkplumbingservices.com.au.

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